Thursday, February 11, 2010

A word about Haiti...

I've been contemplating a post on Haiti ever since I stumbled upon this post over at everybody likes sandwiches (go on... click on over and read the post).  I wasn't going to "go there," but I was just really inspired by what I saw.

What these bloggers have done through blog aid: recipes for Haiti is astonishing.  I bought the book right away, and would encourage you to do so as well - right now!  Click here and buy it!

(p.s. here starts the rant... skip over it if you aren't feeling all that open-minded at the moment)
What you might not know about me - which makes this endorsement all the more interesting - is that I despise crisis campaigns.  Before you go and make a mean face at me - hear me out:  I studied fundraising for my masters, so I know how successful crisis campaigns can be.  I also know how unsuccessful they can be in actually getting people the help that they need.  Remember when all those wonderful people collected blankets and shipped them all the way to Myanmar (which, btw, is Burma) after the cyclone/tsunami?  Oh you don't?  Probably since the blankets sat in a giant puddle and did nothing since Myanmar is in Southeast Asia - where it was HOT & HUMID at the time.   Beyond that - crisis campaigns focus the money and effort on a very short period of time and often over-look the long-term sustainability of the relief they are providing.  Anybody thought about how the people of Myanmar are doing nowadays?  Didn't think so.

I understand that what happened in Haiti was horrific, and that beyond the recent earthquake, the country has suffered numerous disasters... but what about the every day disasters here at home? How often is the entire country mobilized by hunger in OUR COUNTRY, by the state of the public schools, or providing people with decent healthcare? Pockets of people are, for sure - but the whole country... rarely.

And yet somehow, this cookbook made me start thinking a little less pessimistically about making a donation towards Haiti.

WHY? Well, bottom line, the organizers leveraged their funds to go as far as they could.

• the publisher donated their services so that all proceeds are donated to Haiti AND threw in a matching gift
• all bloggers who contributed obviously are not getting kick-backs
• the Canadian government will even be matching the funds (only until Feb. 12th though, so buy yours now!)
• you get an awesome cookbook out of it (although... don't get me started on people who buy pink things because 2% of the proceeds go towards breast cancer research - JUST donate $50 dollars already and make a real difference... but I'm not being judgmental at all, am I?)

Now, the only thing I am still not 100% supportive of is that the money is being funneled through the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. I am not a big fan of the Red Cross. Just heard too many stories of money not being handled the way it should in a non-profit (ie, sometimes they think they are a business, and they should be making a profit). But it’s Canada’s Red Cross…. So maybe they are better? Let’s hope.

I should also mention that there is another very similar fundraising effort going on over at Celiac Teen – who is a blog friend of my real-life friend Amy I. of Playing House. Since I found out about it after I had already written this whole thing… I will simply add that they are doing virtually the same thing, except I believe it’s an e-cookbook which you may download after donating whatever amount $10 and above you feel inclined to donate. All goes to Haiti – also comes with matching gifts from Canada (what up, Canada? You are rocking the food blog world!)

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